Catalonia, Dec 22: Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has declared victory for the “Catalan Republic” over the Spanish government in Catalonia’s snap election, with secessionist parties having held onto their majority in the region’s parliament.
Catalonia’s parliament has 135 seats, requiring 68 seats for a majority. Secessionist parties won 70 seats in election, meaning they will hold a majority, according to the latest count of votes.
Puigdemont, speaking in the early hours of Friday morning from self-imposed exile in Brussels, said the result was indisputable.
“Now, it is necessary to rectify, repair and restore. The recipe that Rajoy sold in Europe has failed. Let them take note,” he said on Twitter.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy dismissed Puigdemont as Catalan president two months ago after he declared Catalan independence from Spain following a referendum on October 1, which Madrid considered illegal.
Puigdemont’s Together for Catalonia (JxCat) party won 34 seats, the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) came third with 32 and the far-left, anti-capitalist Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) picked up four – a combined total for separatist parties of 70.
The anti-independence Citizens party won the highest number of seats, 37, becoming the biggest party in the new assembly.
Exit polls showed a five percent increase in voter participation over the 2015 election that originally put pro-independence parties in power.
Rajoy, who called the snap election in October in an attempt to end the political crisis in the wake of Catalonia’s referendum, is unlikely to be pleased with the results.